Big Fan Of The Lake

Arkansas head football coach Bret Bielema made it clear on Wednesday's SEC Teleconference that he welcomed suspended linebacker Jarrett Lake back with open arms as well as several injured players that should be ready to play Saturday when the Razorbacks (2-0) host Southern Mississippi (0-2).

Those thinking that Arkansas senior linebacker Jarrett Lake is in the doghouse of head coach Bret Bielema would be definitely off their leash.

That's according to the Razorback head coach, who played without his suspended starting linebacker last week in a 31-21 win over Samford in Little Rock.

Bielema said he was not disappointed in Lake, whose suspension was a week-long one and who will be back with Arkansas (2-0) when it hosts Southern Mississippi (0-2) this Saturday in Fayetteville.

"Not at all," Bielema said on Wednesday's SEC Teleconference. "I probably even have got a more sincere feeling for what he is and what he is all about. He broke down the team last week - I believe it was Wednesday afternoon – and kind of shared some thoughts about what he was going through that week knowing that he couldn't play."

Bielema made it clear that he did not personally suspend Lake.

"The things that kept him off the field last week were things that were in place before I got here," Bielema said. "We just have to live by the rules that are set in place.

"He is a kid that has battled through a lot in his life, he has been through some things that a lot of people don't normally have to go through and he has championed that moment to get to where he is today," Bielema added.

"If there is a kid that I think will give us leadership and hopefully play a lot of football beyond the season that is in front of us, it is going to be Jarrett Lake," Bielema continued.

Bielema said there would be no carryover from the suspension and Lake will be in the starting line up on Saturday.

"We'll put our best players on the field," Bielema said. "If I felt it was something that I thought I needed to send a message with, I would. But the message has been delivered a hundred times over by him sitting out last week.

"I couldn't be more excited for a kid to be a part of our program," Bielema added.

Lake is one of three least three defensive starters that the Razorbacks could be adding back into the mix this week.

Junior defensive end Trey Flowers is a definite go while safety Rohan Gaines is still day-to-day, but getting better.

"He (Gaines) is doing good," Bielema said. "He moved around yesterday side-to-side and hopefully we can get him ingrained in some contact drills today and see how that goes.

"A lot of times this guys when they are coming back they are gung ho one day and the next day there might be a little bit of a setback," Bielema added. "We definitely want to keep him on the road to recovery. If we get him this week, great. If not Alan Turner will be our starter and Eric Bennett will be opposite him and we'll see where it goes."

Bielema also expects sophomore linebacker Otha Peters to play this week, but says senior tight end Austin Tate may not play until next week's game at Rutgers.

"Otha practiced yesterday and he took the green jersey off - which was no contact that he had the week before – and was fully engaged so he'll be with us," Bielema said. "I don't know what capacity that he will play on Saturday, but the indication this morning – and we practiced pretty heavily yesterday afternoon – is that he had no issues.

"Austin is probably another week away," Bielema added. "He may get out there this week, but he will be with us all during practice and all during preparation and if he can play Saturday he will and if not he will be back next week."

Bielema was asked about two junior college transfers – offensive lineman John McClure and linebacker Myke Tavarres – that have not taken the field yet.

"John actually traveled with us last week to Little Rock and we are very, very excited about his progress," Bielema said. "He has changed his body and is really probably our fifth guard. We will take a swing guard or a swing tackle and he is definitely that guy. He is very conscientious and very detailed. We are very happy with where he is at.

"Myke Tavares was in a position to hopefully get on the field for us, but he has got to continue to grow a lot of ways – going to class, doing things that we ask him to do, be more accountable on the field and things away from the field before we can give him some leadership or the ability to take the field for us on Saturdays," Bielema added.

"He is a great kid with a great personality, but he just got to get more serious about everything he is doing," Bielema continued.

Arkansas rallied past Samford in the final quarter last week in what Bielema thought was a character-building victory.

"I thought our guys grew in a number of ways – not just Xs and Os, but maturity-wise while coming from behind, a four-quarter game that we were able to close out in the fourth quarter," Bielema said.

Even though Southern Miss has the nation's longest FBS losing streak at 14, Bielema sees some positives from the Eagles.

"Excited about the opportunity to play Southern Miss, obviously a team that is getting better every week," Bielema said. "They had some coaching transition a year ago and have been very, very impressive from what they have put on film.

"I know they haven't come out with a W, but it is a tremendous challenge for us on Saturday," Bielema added.

Jarrett Lake

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